She & Him often gather a lot of criticism, simply because of Zooey Deschanel’s involvement in the band.Â It’s the typical criticism thrown at people who are already famous (for a given value of ‘famous’) for other reasons who later decide to explore the music industry: they’re only getting the opportunity because they’re already famous, because of who they know, because they have money, etc.; they’re not actually any good; people aren’t fans of the music, just of the artist’s other career; people only care because the artist is hot.Â This criticism is often true; see, for example, the “music careers” of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Heidi Montag Pratt Montag, et al.
The case of She & Him is a bit different, however. Â While Zooey Deschanel is best known as an actress, she’s not one of those starlets whose voice gets autotuned into next week to make it sound decent for release. Â She has a sweet, delicate voice that is perfectly suited towards the type of music she’s making with M. Ward in She & Him. Â The music is fluff, there’s no denying that, so for the critics complaining about the music being kind of devoid of greater meaning, well, I’ll give them that. Â But everyone needs a fun, summery album that you can put on and dance around to without having to think much about it. Â There’s a lot to be said in defense of musical “fluff”, but that’s a whole different blog entry, I guess.
In front of a huge crowd of 11,000+ spectators, She & Him provided a breezy summer soundtrack for the evening. Â M. Ward was largely a silent partner in the project, aside from contributing a few scattered backing vocals. Â Deschanel, aside from vocals, also stepped in on keyboards, ukulele, and tambourine. Â Her stage presence is much like many of the characters she plays: genuine, yet somewhat awkward. Â Maybe aloof. Â There was some small talk, but most of the show was just cute little pop songs. Â For me, the show didn’t really get going until close to the end, when the rest of the session musicians left the stage, leaving Deschanel and Ward to perform a few songs on their own. Â The true highlight for me was a cover of “I Put a Spell On You”, where Deschanel left behind the cutesy, fun vocals and just belted the hell out of the track. Â Of course, it was the last song of the encore, but I would love to see what she could do with more songs that call for a little more letting loose and a little less cute indie princess.